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To a conscientious man or woman, the Word of God burns like a flame within the heart; it is not easily squelched. There is something about God’s Word that is unlike anything man ever produced. Whatever it is than man can inspire, there is an inadequate quality to it that will eventually arise. It is not this way with God’s Word.

Jeremiah the prophet expressed himself along this line exactly. Frustrated as he was at the time, he resolved to no longer preach the Lord’s Word to a people that had no interest in hearing anything, much less do anything about that which the Lord demanded. On one occasion he said (and wrote), For whenever I prophesy, I must cry out, “Violence and destruction are coming!” This message from the LORD has made me an object of continual insults and derision. Sometimes I think, “I will make no mention of his message. I will not speak as his messenger any more.” But then his message becomes like a fire locked up inside of me, burning in my heart and soul. I grow weary of trying to hold it in; I cannot contain it (Jeremiah 20:8-9, NET).

Perhaps you can relate well with Jeremiah on this. I hope so.

There was a king, however, who could not, did not, and made it a point to not allow others the opportunity to relate to the same. In Jeremiah 36, the righteous king Josiah (deceased at this time) had a son who was king and who regarded the Lord with scorn. His name was Jehoiakim. The Lord, through Jeremiah, preached and preached of the national leaders need to repent or the Lord would bring such disaster on the nation that the anguish they would experience would be unlike anything they could imagine. This message was received by some, but rejected by most.

On the occasion of Jeremiah 36, Jeremiah had his associate write out the Lord’s message and read it in the Temple. This was done and many of the people were alarmed. They passed word to the king, and the king called for the document to be read in his presence. Having read the document, the king cut it up and put the writings of Jeremiah into the fire (36:23), representing his scorn for that which the Lord said. To the king, he might have been reacting to this persistent prophet that always preached against him, but to the Lord the king represented Israel’s destruction. To him who is given much, much is expected.

The Scriptures teach that the Lord’s Word will accomplish its purpose (Isaiah 55:10-11), and the Lord’s purpose with His Word is for each to bow the knee to Jesus (Philippians 2:9). In every soul wherein the Lord’s Word burns, those are people who willingly bowed their knees before the Lord Jesus. On the other hand, there are a great many more who look upon the Lord’s Word as a petulant nuisance, and they just want preachers and Christians to stop trying to “force your morality and religion” on them. Representing this latter group in Jeremiah’s time was King Jehoiakim. What the king hoped to “burn away” only sealed, presumably, his eternal destiny (36:30-31).

There is a lesson in here for us. Will we learn it? RT